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Old 02-12-2010, 08:54 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Looking for a couple upgrades to my beater

Hey guys,

Right now I'm rocking a cheap Acer that I bought back in university. It still works pretty good, it's just painfully slow quite often.

I have it free from viruses, adware and spyware to the best of my knowledge and I also run CCleaner on it every know and then.

I was wondering what would be the best bang for my buck to get this thing running more smoothly.

The 2 things I was thinking of atm are 1. to get rid of useless Vista and either go with Windows 7 or XP and 2. upgrade my RAM by at least a gig.

How do I figure out what type of RAM would fit my computer and would be a good buy? Is there any other hardware that would be a good investment without investing too much compared to what this thing is worth?

Here are my specs



Thanks!
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Old 02-12-2010, 09:08 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for a couple upgrades to my beater

Your computer uses DDR2 RAM.

If you want, you can download a program called CPU-Z here. And then when you open the program look at the memory tab, and it will tell you the type and speed of RAM your computer uses.

I think an extra gig will do you good. Most of the time doubling your RAM up to 2GB will see a nice improvement. Especially with how smooth things run. That's if your system is really free of virus, etc.

You can also look up various Vista tweaks that will squeeze a little more performance out of your computer. As well as making sure everything is up to date. OS, drivers, etc.

In terms of investing in other hardware, that would depend on what you use your computer for. If it's just for surfing the web, music, movies, the general, then you don't really need to look further than a memory upgrade.
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Old 02-12-2010, 10:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for a couple upgrades to my beater

Thanks for the quick reply.

I will install CPU-Z once my computer finishes installing years worth of vista service packs and updates...which might take all night at the rate it's going...I'm bad for updating stuff.

I will definitely look into at least doubling my RAM depending on what I have room for.

I think I have vista already set to run nearly as plain as possible, but I think I still will look into getting XP, or Win7 if that's even compatible with this beast.

As for my use, it is pretty simple and general use. I don't really play many games, and I will probably buy a nice new laptop before the couple that I want to try come out.

One of the reasons I asked about hardware is that my computer is really noisy, kind of has a creaking / humming / grinding sound - if that makes any sense - mostly when it's thinking hard. Processor? It's done that since it came out of the box a few years ago. The full setup was only like $600 3-4 years ago, but now I wouldn't mind getting rid of it.
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Old 02-13-2010, 12:03 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for a couple upgrades to my beater

Here's your specs page:
Acer Support - Aspire T180 Specifications

Your computer can hold up to 4GB of DDR2 800/667/533 RAM. You currently have a gig of RAM... it just doesn't show the RAM Windows is using at the time.

The noise sounds more like the hard drive. A fan would be more of a whine.

One thing you can do is to open it up and blow it our good with a can of compressed air. Be sure to blow the heatsink out good, getting all the built up dust out from between the fins.

A good defrag would help it run better, too. I would recommend a good third party defrag program, like Diskkeeper Lite, Auslogics Disk Defrag, or Defraggler... all of which are free.

Cleaning up your start up programs would make a big difference as well.
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Old 02-13-2010, 03:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for a couple upgrades to my beater

Thanks, I'm running defraggler right now. Looks like it's already working better than the windows one, which always gives me errors when I try to run it. I also downloaded the driverscanner from that website so hopefully that will help too.

How do I know which sticks of RAM will fit my system and be a good choice? I'm looking at DDR2 RAM on ncix here but I'm somewhat overwhelmed with trying to figure out what means what.
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Old 02-13-2010, 05:18 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for a couple upgrades to my beater

This one should do just fine:
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?s...cture=Kingston

You should check with CPU-Z to find out the speed and latency of the RAM in your computer, so that we can pick out a closer match. You can check the memory and SPD tab of CPU-Z.
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Old 02-13-2010, 05:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for a couple upgrades to my beater

Using a SSD for your OS and applications should give your system a considerable upgrade in speed and responsiveness. The downside is a good SSDs aren't cheap but in my option they are worth it.

Newegg.com - Intel X25-V SSDSA2MP040G2R5 2.5" 40GB SATA II MLC Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) - SSD

I would probably go for a ram upgrade first though.

Also if you are running Vista on the SSD you will need to manually disable disk defrag and you may want to run the manual TRIM tool in the Intel SSD Toolbox every once in a while to keep it operating at peak performance.
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Old 02-13-2010, 07:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for a couple upgrades to my beater

Here is the memory tab from running CPU-Z



Should I only look into doubling my RAM, or could I throw a 2GB stick in there for a total of 3GB ?

Defraggler finished doing its thing; but I clicked analyze again just for kicks and it still came up with a whole bunch of defragmented files. Should I run it again and again to keep getting the number down?
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Old 02-13-2010, 08:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for a couple upgrades to my beater

You don't need 3GB if you're using your computer for general purposes.

Thanks for providing the CPU-Z info. Here's the appropriate RAM to buy:
http://ncix.com/products/index.php?s...cture=Kingston

It's not necessary to keep defragging. There is always going to be a few fragmented files here and there. So once a week is just fine.
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Old 02-13-2010, 09:13 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Looking for a couple upgrades to my beater

Awesome, thanks.

I know it's not necessary but I think I rather have 3GB of RAM. With how painfully slow it often is right now, I rather go for the overkill and spend an extra $20-$30.

Would this one fit / be a good match?
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